Firstborn Sonship of Christ

Vol 26 No 4
April 2001
The New Birth
Series Number: 29


      Foregoing comment on the March article, we go directly into the next article on the Introduction to the Old Testament.


      21 "That they all may be ONE, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be ONE in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.
      22 "And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be ONE just as We are ONE:
      23 "I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in ONE, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me,"
Jn 17:21-23
.       Hardly is there a more beautiful and profound passage of scripture than this. Here lie the unsearchable riches of Christ (Eph 3:8), that eye has only fleetingly seen, that ear has only faintly heard, and heart has only wistfully understood, 1Co 2:9. Here is the hope of God's calling, the riches of the glory of God's inheritance in the saints, and the exceeding greatness of God's power toward us by which He raised up Christ's human body from the dead into a divine ONENESS within the Godhead, Eph 1:17-23; Col 2:9-10. This was done in order to bring His covenant "body" of faithful covenant people into that divine oneness.
      In the metaphor saturated Old Testament, the covenant people from Adam to Christ were under strenuous covenant disciplinary training in order to qualify them for this divine ONENESS with God, 1Co 10:1-12; Heb 3:7-19. And likewise in the metaphor saturated New Testament, the covenant people in a local New Testament church are also privileged to be tested (1Pe 1:3-9) in order to qualify for the same firstborn sonship and bridal "ONENESS" with God (a double metaphor of both firstborn sons and the bride being the same people).
      In this study of the Old Testament, we are greatly enriched with the many types, ceremonies, and verbal descriptions of this unique "oneness" which God has predestined for the faithful covenant people. God has concealed these things from the proud and worldly (Lk 10:21), and has revealed that this way which leads to divine life is strait and narrow (Mt 7:13-14), based upon the holy state of God's divine nature, Lev 11:44-45; 1Pe 1:15.


      16 "For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who is believing (a believing mind-posture), for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
      17 "For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith,'"
Rom 1:16-17.
      The Gospel was preached before hand to Abraham (Gal3:8), and in a cloaked way all through the Old Testament. Though this article will deal mostly with the New Testament. It will emphasize the new birth through justification and point out its relationship in the writings of Isaiah in the next article. Consider briefly the following major things from these verses which we will see throughout the book of Isaiah and throughout the whole Bible.


      1. The Messiah (Christ) is God in a Human Body.

      "Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, ‘GOD WITH US,'" Mt 1:23.
      5 "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
      6 "Who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,
      7 "But made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.
      8 "And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
      9 "Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,
      10 "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,
      11 "And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father,"
Phi 2:5-11
.       Christ was not born into a divine body in His virgin birth. Mary was not divine and could not give Christ a divine body. Christ's human body was altogether a human body with God dwelling in it. The human birth was the first step in that series of events which resulted in Christ's mere human body being born into a divine body in His resurrection, Act 13;29-33; 1Co 15:45-50; Col 2:9.
      This was a major factor in God's purpose before creation that 1) God should become a human in a mere flesh body, 2) be rigidly tested and approved as a human being (Seed of the first Adam), 3) perform the covenant required functions of His personal ministry, 4) endure the shame and wrath of the cross for the sins of the human race, 5) His body die, and be buried, 6) His spirit descend into paradise and hell, 7) ascend out of the earth bringing paradise with Him, and 8) rejuvenate His dead body and give that body a divine birth into God's divine state of being, thereby creating a new kind of human body, a new man, a Second Adam.


      8 "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever," Heb 13:8.
      The above briefly stated series of events culminated in Christ becoming the Son of God as stated in Ps 2:7. He was God (Elohim) without beginning and the co-Creator of all things as stated in Jn 1:1-3; Col 1:15-18; Heb 1:10-12. And since God is all powerful, all wise, and all knowing, and has always been so, there was not a time when Christ was not the Son of God in the knowledge and experience of God who is infinite in every way.
      If God's knowledge and experience increased at any point in time or eternity, then there would have been a time when He was not infinite. However the Scriptures say that God does not change (Mal 3:6; Ja 1:17) and that He knows the end from the beginning (Isa 46:10), yet with God there was no beginning and there is no end.
      "17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning," Ja 1:17.
      Growth in knowledge and experience indicates change, which would further indicate God was not infinite in knowledge and experience before that growth. This would further limit God's presence and power before the change. Such change, of course, obviously never took place because God is and has always been infinitely omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent through all time and eternity, past, present, and future.
      29 "And suddenly they cried out, saying, ‘What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?'"
      41 "And demons also came out of many, crying out and saying, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of God!' And He, rebuking them, did not allow them to speak, for they knew that He was the Christ," Lk 4:41; Mk 5:7-9; et al.
      Demons immediately recognized Jesus as the Christ (the anointed One), the Son of God. They knew the time of judgment was still future. These and companion verses reveal that demons know a lot about the past, the present, and the future. Angels were created before the earth was created (Job 38:1-7), and evidently sinned before man was created. Obviously they had accurate, visible, and experimental knowledge of Christ, as to who He was in a flesh body, that He would be the Judge, that the time of judgment was still future, that they would be punished, etc. It appears they had knowledge of the creation week of Gen 1 and 2, and perhaps a good and accurate knowledge of the Old Testament.


      Another major factor in God's purpose is stated in the following passage:
      22 "What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,
      23 "And that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory?"
Rom 9:22-23.
      These verses present the reason why God permitted mankind to fall into this terribly sinful state of being. The immeasurable atrocities, agonies, and eternal punishment resulting from this sinful condition stagger the human mind. Yet we must equate this to God's love, his mercy, and His justice. He is righteous and just in His punishment, and His love and mercy are without measure alongside His justice. But God could not show His mercy if there were no objects of mercy, and God could not show His justice if there were no conditions requiring merciful and just punishments.


      2. The Messiah Had to Live a Perfect and Tested Human Life in a Mere Human Flesh Body.

      17 "Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
      18 "For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted,"
Heb 2:17-18.
      15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin," Heb 4:15; 5:8-9.
      16 "Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; whoever is constantly believing will not act hastily," Isa 28:16.
      We must keep in mind this unique "oneness" in the purpose of the Lord as He meticulously and painfully trains and qualifies His faithful covenant people to be fashioned into His own image of divine glory. See Israel in the wilderness, 1Co 10:1-12; Heb 3;6-19; et al. See Israel through the book of Isaiah. See Israel through the church in 2Co 3:17 thru 6:18.


      3. The Messiah Had to Suffer for Man's sins.

      10 "For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
      11 "For both He who is sanctifying and those who are being sanctified are all of ONE, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren,"
Heb 2:10-11.
      8 "Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.
      9 "And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who are constantly obeying Him,"
Heb 5:8-9.       In the Gospel according to Isaiah and all the Bible, these things are quite observably rehearsed for us: that "oneness" between God and the faithful bride people is cloaked yet clearly expressed to those to whom God will reveal them. Thus the sinless life and sufferings of the body of the Messiah were also paramount in every sacrifice and ceremony of the Old Testament, and should be expected in the writings of all the prophets, as we amply see in Isa 53; Ps 22; et al.


      4. The Human Body of Christ Was Born of God in His Resurrection.

      29 "Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb.
      30 "But God raised Him from the dead.
      31 "He was seen for many days by those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are His witnesses to the people.
      32 "And we declare to you glad tidings -- that promise which was made to the fathers.
      33 "God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You,'"
Act 13:29-30; Col 1:18; Rev 1:5; Heb 2:5-6; 5:5.
      Christ came out of the grave with a heavenly, spirit body, and thereby became the "firstborn from the dead" in a human body born into a divine state of being, with all the attributes of God's divine nature in that body, Col 2:9; 2Co 3:18; Phi 3:21; 1Co 15:44-50. Observe that this same fullness of God will be shared by the faithful covenant people, Eph 1:22-23; 3:19; Col 1:19; 2:9-10; Jn 10:30-36; 17:21-23; et al. We will see this "oneness' freely flow all through the Old Testament.


      5. The Righteousness of the Gospel Is an Attribute of God's Divine Nature, Requiring a Divine Birth.

      16 "For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God into salvation for everyone who is constantly believing, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
      17 "For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith,'"
Rom 1:16-17.
      6 "But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteous-nesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away," Isa 64:6.
      In the Gospel the righteousness of God is revealed. Observe that it is God's righteousness, not our righteousness. All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags, therefore the only righteousness we can have is the righteousness of God, which is constantly being credited to us by the Lord on the basis of a lifestyle characterized by faith – walking in the steps of the faith of Abraham, Rom 1:16-17; 4:12-25; Gal 3:6-9; 5:5; Phi 3:9; Mt 6:33; Isa 45:24; 51:5; 54:17; Jer 23:6; 33:15-16; et al.
      There will be many nations of saved people on the new earth (Rev 21 & 22) made up of the unfaithful saved, Ex 19:4-6; Deu 7;6-11; 26;16-19; Rev 21 & 22; 1Co 3:15; 2Ti 2:20-21; et al. But the primary salvation of the Gospel is the righteousness of God (God's divine nature), which requires a faithful lifestyle – a lifestyle that exemplifies a strong daily faith posture. See the passages in both paragraphs immediately above.
      The righteousness of God is an attribute of God's divine nature, and therefore requires a divine birth from the mere human into the divine state of being. Numerous passages, as indicated above, state explicitly that we are to eagerly wait for that divine righteousness and therefore wait for that divine birth in the resurrection when Christ returns


      6. God's Righteousness Is Progressively Credited to the Faithful Covenant People Through Justification.

      6 "And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness," Gen 15:6.
      This was when Abraham was about 85 years old, but Abraham had been walking "by faith" some 15 or more years before that time. He first entered into the Bible honor roll of the faithful about age 70 or younger in his native land of the Chaldeans before he "dwelt in Haran," Act 7:1-4; Heb 11:8. Abraham left Haran at age 75 (Gen 12:4) and spent the next 10 years walking by faith and waiting for the promised son, Gen 12; 13; 14; 15:1-5. So Gen 15:6 was not the time Abraham was saved, and furthermore was not the first time Abraham was justified.
      Observe further that Abraham's justification is inseparably associated with Abraham's "walking" "by faith" another 15 years until Isaac was born, Rom 4:12-23. Moreover the Scriptures say that Abraham was again (for a third time) justified "by grace through faith works," when he offered up Isaac, when Isaac was about 25 years old, Heb 11:17-19; Ja 2:21-24.
      The above examples begin to reveal that justification is a progressive process, and that (within the covenants) we are justified by every act of faith. We will see more of this as we proceed.


      7. God's Righteousness Can Be Forfeited, and Not Remembered – Not Beneficial in the Resurrection.

      24 "But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All the righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; because of the unfaithfulness of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, because of them he shall die," Eze 18:24; 3:20-21; 33:12-13.
      The righteousness in these passages is good and acceptable to God, and is therefore God's righteousness. It is paramount that we understand this as Bible truth. If the righteous man (justified man) continues in the righteous way, his righteousness which he has done by grace through faith will be remembered and he will live in (be born into) that righteousness of God.
      God does not want us to continue in our righteousnesses which are filthy rags (Isa 64:6), but to continue by grace through faith in His righteousness, Rom 9:30-32.
      These passages in Ezekiel make it clear that we can stop walking and living in the accredited righteousness of God. When we stop walking by grace through faith, we stop walking in God's righteousness, and therefore we stop walking in justification. Therefore we must be constantly seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness, or we will not qualify for God's divine righteousness when Christ returns, Mt 5:6; 6:33; 25:25-46; 2Co 9:10; Gal 5:5; 1Ti 6:11; 2Ti 2:22; 4:8; Rev 19:7-8; Isa 45:24; 54:17; 61:10 thru 62:3; Jer 23:5-8; 33:15-16; et al.


      8. God's Righteousness Leads to Divine Life.

      18 "Therefore, as through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act (Phi 2:5-11) the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life," Rom 5:18.
      21 "So that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness into eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord," Rom 5:21.
      The righteousness of God and divine life are both divine attributes of God's divine nature. We must live a justified or righteous life in order to be found in God's righteousness with divine life when Christ returns. As sin reigns in our lives and brings death, so must righteousness (justification) reign in our lives now day by day in order to gain God's righteousness with God's life in our own person eternally.
      13 "And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God," Rom 6:13.
      We are to present our bodies to God as crucified, dead, buried, and raised from the dead, and thereby present the members of our bodies as instruments of righteousness to God. And what is the result? Having been baptized (symbolically) into the crucified, dead, buried, raised, and deified body of Christ (Rom 6:3-13), we should bear about in our bodies the dying of the Lord that the life of Christ may be evident in us, Rom 12:1-2; 2Co 3:17-18; 4:7-12,17 thru 5:5.
      6 "Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?" Rom 6:16.
      If we let sin reign in our bodies throughout our lives, the end is death away from God's divine life; but if we let the Holy Spirit produce in us the fruits of righteousness throughout our earthly lives, the end will be God's divine righteousness and divine life for ever.
      22 "But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life," Rom 6:22.
      We have been set free from sin symbolically in the deified body of Christ (Rom 6:3-13), therefore on the basis of this metaphor (Rom 4:17; 6:3-13), of being members of the deified body of Christ, we are to present our bodies as being the deified members of the deified body of Christ. If we strive earnestly to do this, the end result is that we will receive that divine life in deified (born again) bodies when Christ returns.
      23 "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord," Rom 6:22-23.
      If we serve God by the works of the flesh, we will die from the deified body of Christ. But if we serve God by the works of the Holy Spirit in us (by grace through faith), then the works are the works of the Holy Spirit in us – grace works (1Co 15:10; Phi 2:12-13; Mt 10:19-20; Heb 4:16), and the end is divine life in the new birth of the body when Christ returns, 1Co 15:1-2,44-48; Phi 3:7-14,21.


     9. The Righteousness of Justification Is God's Righteousness.

      21 "But now the righteousness of God apart from the Law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,
      22 "Even the righteousness of God, through faith OF Jesus Christ, to all and on all who are constantly believing. For there is no difference;
      23 "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
     24 "Being progressively justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
      25 "Whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed,
      26 "To demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the One constantly justifying the one (who is) out of faith OF Jesus,"
Rom 3:21-26.       The righteousness of the Law Covenant was also God's righteousness, however man in his sinful condition could not and cannot keep the Law Covenant. God required those under the Law Covenant to keep the whole Law perfectly in order to reveal to all that man is a sinner and is unable to keep God's perfect Law of righteousness, Ja 2:10; Gal 3:10; 5:3.
      There are only two kinds of righteousness for mankind: 1) the righteousness of man which before God is as filthy rags (Isa 64:6), and 2) the righteousness of God which God is progressively crediting to each of His faithful covenant people by faith as they walk by faith. Throughout the Scriptures, great emphasis is put on this distinction:
      16 "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but by faith OF Jesus Christ, even we have believed into (the body of) Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith OF Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the Law no flesh shall be justified," Gal 2:15.
      7 "But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.
      8 "Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ
      9 "And be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the Law, but that which is through the faith OF Christ, the righteousness which is from God by the faith;
      10 "That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,
      11 "If, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead,"
Phi 3:7-11.
      The faithful covenant people will be found in Christ having the righteousness of God. They will thereby know God's divine nature by experience, but observe the conditional "IF" throughout the passage. We must count all things but loss, and bear about in our bodies the dying of the Lord in order to be made conformable to His divine new birth resurrection body. This conditional "IF" factor reaches all the way to verse 21 and beyond – see 4:1 and 1Th 2:19-20.


      10. God's Righteousness Is a Covenant Promise to the Faithful Covenant People.

      25 "You are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, 'And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed'" (be justified), Act 3:25.
      6 "Just as Abraham ‘believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness,'" Gal 3:6.       Immediately we recognize that the subject is justification, and therefore the passage is dealing with God's divine righteousness.
      7 "Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham," Gal 3:7.
      The words "of faith" signify those whose lives are characterized by faith. This speaks of people who are daily striving to obey God and live separate from sin and (as much as possible) from all worldly activities. A lukewarm Christian is not "of faith," but will be vomited out of the Lord's mouth, Rev 3:16-17. The kinds of saved people, as described in 2Pr 1:9, are not "of faith," and will not make their calling and election sure.
      8 "And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the Gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, ‘IN YOU all the nations shall be blessed (justified),'" Gal 3:8.
      This context is based upon Abraham believing God and his faith being counted for righteousness (for justification, for God's righteousness, not man's righteousness). Those who are are sons of Abraham, and the Gentiles will be justified (blessed, made righteousness) only "in" Abraham, Gal 3:8.
      9 "So then those who are of faith are blessed (justified) in believing Abraham," Gal 3:9.
      Those who are justified must be "of faith," and they must be "in Abraham." Observe further:
      28 "For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh;
      29 "But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God,"
Rom 2:28-29.
      The Jews are the physical seed of Abraham, but to be a spiritual seed of Abraham one must have a circumcised heart. This means one must have a faith mind-set, a faith posture, a believing lifestyle, in order to be true seed of Abraham. One is not counted by God as a spiritual seed of Abraham unless he walks in the "steps" of the faith of Abraham, Rom 4:12.


      11. God's Righteousness Is Lost When One Is Cut Off from Abraham.

      14 "And the uncircumcised male child, who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant," Gen 17:14.
      Abraham was justified before circumcision, but after circumcision was commanded in Gen 17:1-14, every covenant person had to have circumcision or they would be cut off from the covenants and could not be justified or share in any other of the covenant benefits.
      God was going to kill Moses because one of his two sons was not circumcised according to God's covenant with Abraham, Ex 4:24-26. Observe also that the uncircumcised could not take the Passover, Ex 12:43-39. Under the covenant with Abraham and the Law Covenant, one without circumcision could not have an obedient circumcised heart. Those covenants required this act of faith obedience.


      11 "And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who are constantly believing, though they are uncircumcised (Gentiles), that righteousness might be credited to them also," Rom 4:11.
      Even with flesh circumcision, an unbelieving heart disqualified every person from being justified. No unbelieving Jew or Gentile could be justified without the faith that followed in the steps of the faith of Abraham.
      In like manner, one who does not have John's baptism (an act of faith obedience) is not holy and is not qualified to take the Lord's Supper (the New Covenant Passover, 1Co 5:7-8 (1-13). The body of Christ is a local church that has the baptism of John (Act 1:22; 19:1-7 (18:24 thru 19:7); 1Co 5; 10:16-17; 11:17-34), and scriptural water baptism is required, just as circumcision was required, in order to receive daily remission (forgiveness) of sins (Mt 3:5-11; Mk 1:4; Lk 3:3; Act 2:38; 22:16 Col 2:11-13), and therefore share in what the Passover, or the Lord's Supper, or the body of Christ represents. And they represent partaking of the fullness of deity in the body of Christ, Heb 3:14; Jn 6:27-67
.       Water baptism, like circum-cision, symbolically washes away our sins; and without this metaphor of the crucifixion cycle, the believer's faith is dead and inactive before God. The crucifixion cycle is the crucifixion, death, burial, resurrection, and deification of the human body of Christ. The believer is baptized into the body of Christ, and is thereby "joined" to the body of Christ as a member of Christ's deified body. The body of Christ has been crucified, died, was buried, and raised from the dead into a deified body. As members of the body of Christ, we are counted as unleavened (crucified dead, buried, raised, and deified members of the deified body of Christ), through we are really still leavened in sinful bodies, 1Co 5:7; Col 2:11-13. God credits us as being dead to sin and justified in the deified body of Christ. These things will be reviewed when we come to Circumcision and the Passover in the Old Testament.


      20 "Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear.
       21 "For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either.
      22 "Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off,"
Rom 11:20-22 (11-22, or the whole chapter).
      In this passage, saved Gentiles have been joined to the stock of Abraham, but theY are warned that they must be faithful according to God's Word or they will also be cut off, as the natural branches (evidently saved covenant people) were cut off. We look at the whole chapter and recognize "the election" is under consideration. Indeed, proper believers (saved people with John's baptism in a true church) are warned of being cut off out of Abraham, out of the covenants, out of the election, out of justification, and therefore out of God's divine righteousness and all the fullness of God.


      12. God Righteousness Is Provided Only Through the Covenants.

      14 "That the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through the faith.
      15 "Brethren, I speak in the manner of men: Though it is only a man's covenant, yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it.
      16 "Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, ‘And to seeds,' as of many, but as of one, ‘And to your Seed,' who is Christ,"
Gal 3:14-16.
      The "blessing of Abraham" includes covenant promises, two are mentioned here: 1) justification, Gal 3:6-9, and 2) the gift of the Holy Spirit. Verse 15 immediately ties the "blessing of Abraham" and these two promises to God's covenant with Abraham. Then verse 16 specifies the Seed of Abraham (the Christ) as the One through whom the covenant was primarily made and through whom the promises will all be fulfilled.


      13. God's Righteousness Provides for All the Faithful Covenant People to Be Heirs of the World.

      12 "And the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircum-cised.
      13 "For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith,"
Rom 4:12-13.
      To be spiritual children of Abraham we must have a circumcised heart and walk in the steps of the faith of Abraham. To be firstborn sons with Christ we must walk in the steps of "the faith of Christ," Gal 3:14,22-29. The promise includes being heirs of the world (Rom 4:13), which means being heirs of all things and joint heirs and rulers with Christ, 1Co 3:21-23; Rom 8:17,32.


      14. God's Righteousness Must be Worked Out In Us by Faith.

      "Blessed are those who are constantly hungering and constantly thirsting for righteousness, for they shall be filled," Mt 5:6.
      33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you," Mt 6:33.
      34 "Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.....
      37 "Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?.....
      46 And these shall go away into eternal punishment: but the righteous into eternal life,"
Mt 25:34,37,46 (31-46).       Those who have the mental and emotional posture of constantly hungering and constantly thirsting after God's righteousness will be filled with God's righteousness in the regeneration (Mt 19:28) – the new birth. Those who are constantly seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness will inherit God kingdom and God's righteousness which requires a new birth into a new body.
      And those who inherit God's kingdom and God's righteousness will inherit all thing jointly with Christ (1Co 3:21-23; 4:13; 8:17-32) and will reign as kings and priests with Christ a thousand years and through the ages of the ages, Rev 1:5-6; 2:26-27; 20:4-6; 22:1-5.


      15. God's Righteousness Is Laid Up in Heaven for the Faithful Covenant People.

      "For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith," Gal 5:5.
      Current justification is a crediting of God's righteousness to the faithful covenant people to be received at the return of Christ, depending upon our eagerly waiting by faith. The words "wait," "eagerly wait" "by faith" speak of faithful service in view of receiving God's righteousness in the future. We do not have God's righteousness yet, except through the indwelling Person of the Holy Spirit. That divine righteousness is credited to our account to be received only if we continue to walk in the steps of the faith of Abraham or of Christ.
      "Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing," 2Ti 4:8.
      This is the same righteousness of God addressed all the way through the Bible. We have seen that God's divine righteousness by the Holy Spirit must reign in us into divine life, Rom 5:18,21; 6:13,16-21; 8:10; Mt 25:31-46. See section immediately above. Those divine attributes of righteousness, life, glory, holiness, love, mercy, etc., are all resident in the deified body of Christ, and we must in this life strive diligently as members of the body of Christ to be conformed to His divine image, in order to receive that same divine nature when Christ returns, Phi 3:7-14,21; 1Pe 1:4-11.
      10 "Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness," 2Co 9:10.
      This righteousness is still the righteousness of God, not our righteousness which is as filthy rags (Isa 64:6), and God's righteousness can be record books. The "fruits of your righteousness" include the "good works" of Mt 5:16; Eph 2:10; and so frequently referenced in Paul's letters to Timothy and Titus. All these "fruits of righteousness" are God's progressive acts of justification throughout the lives of the faithful covenant people. See also 1Ti 6:11 and 2Ti 2:22.